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learn more about joint custody and a parenting plan

Learn More About Joint Custody and a Parenting Plan

When going through a divorce, your children are the most important consideration. You need to make arrangements for their care. One option is obtaining legal custody, which means you have the authority to make decisions for your children, including schooling, medical treatment, and other important matters.

The second option is physical custody of your kids which means you have them physically in your home. Physical custody can be of two forms. Sole or primary custody means you have physical custody of the children, but your spouse doesn't.

In some cases, you may also have joint custody. This can be an effective solution because it will prevent the children from being caught up in a power struggle between their parents. Unfortunately, not all parents understand how joint legal custody works or how it can help them avoid conflict. Below are answers to some of the most common questions about joint legal custody.


In most cases, parents are given joint legal custody if the court deems this to be in the children's best interests. In a joint custody situation, both parents have equal authority to make decisions regarding their children's care. If there is a disagreement, mediation may be an effective way to come to a solution.


You usually need to make detailed arrangements for your children's care if you're divorced or separated. A parenting plan is an excellent way to do that. This document contains information about how each parent will spend time with the children and other arrangements related to the children.

A parenting plan can include things like healthcare arrangements that stipulate who will be responsible for making medical decisions on behalf of the children. Please note that joint physical custody doesn't mean the child will have to spend equal time with each parent. The child may spend more time with one parent as it is often difficult to split the time equally. When this happens, the parent who spends more time with the child is called a primary custodial parent. A parental plan may also include visitation orders to help the parent who has less time with the child.

The following are the most common visitation orders.

  • Visitation according to a schedule
  • Supervised visitation
  • Reasonable visitation
  • No visitation

Custody battles are often bitter and painful experiences for children and parents. If you need help reaching an arrangement that works for you and your children, then a family law attorney can work with you to create a suitable parenting plan.

If you are a Utah resident involved in a divorce or child custody case, you should contact TR Spencer Law Office. Our lead attorney has been practicing family law in Utah for over 10 years and has helped hundreds of families resolve their custody issues. He is compassionate and effective and can help you with all your family law needs, including child custody, division of property, grandparent rights, and protective orders. Give us a call today, and we will be happy to help.

parental rights, joint custody